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Trick Your Mind Into Using Less of Something

Recently, I returned from a trip overseas to Russia, where I took only a carry-on bag. As such, I bought four of those little 3-oz. travel size bottles for my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. When I returned home, I decided to just use up what was in those bottles before going back to using the products from the original bottles.

Lo and behold, I discovered that I use significantly less of each product when I use it from the smaller bottle!

My theory is that it is some kind of rationing technique that my brain developed; it sees that I only have a small bottle of the product so I feel compelled to use less of it than if I were pouring it out from the big bottle. It still performs just as well with less, so that isn’t an issue at all.


So if you’re looking to save a little bit of money and use less resources, try moving your things (beauty products, toiletries, even try some foodstuff!) to smaller containers. You might also trick your brain into using less! Also, the smaller containers take up significantly less room in the shower!

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21 Responses to “Trick Your Mind Into Using Less of Something”

  1. Michael says:

    I believe this is true. I drink a lot of ice tea, and no matter how big or small the cup is I always drink it in about the same amount of time.

  2. Nice insight!
    I think this is true also. If you have only that amount of something, you won’t want to use it in one time, so you try to save it for the next time.
    But if you have big bottles, you will always think: ‘I still have enough!’ until you don’t have enough.

    I like this one Maria, I hope your trip was nice!

  3. Ed says:

    The problem with this when I tried it was I totally forgot that I had the large bottles or forgot that I hid them somewhere in the house–so I ended up buying more stuff. Just a day ago, I was surprised to find some small bottles in my travel bag I brought with me months ago. Also, I sometimes can’t seem to follow your tip, especially when I go to a store and I impulsively buy that new scent of shampoo, lotion, etc.

  4. Maria says:

    Haha, too true! To combat this, I have a place dedicated to storing the larger bottles (whether that’s in a drawer or cabinet or anywhere, as long as it’s consistent! Labeling things can also work). Impulse buying is also difficult to overcome. I have actually (mostly) stopped buying the larger, more cost efficient bottles of things because I tend to get bored of what I’m using and I really love trying out new products, smells, etc. Even if it is a little bit more expensive, I think it’s worth it to be able to mix things up fairly frequently, and takes some of the guilt out of impulse buying.

    Thanks everyone for commenting!

  5. used tires says:

    Seems like a great idea! In a way… you’re brain almost goes into survival mode. I’ve experienced this before as a college student, who wasn’t able to get to the supermarket for a few days, so I had to save as much as I could on my food to make it threw the week.

    Till then,


  6. arabam says:

    Nice insight!
    I think this is the way,I am impressed by this one.

  7. It is quite funny how we can trick ourselves into using less. You guys will laugh at me, but I use a tube of toothpaste for almost 3 months….and I do brush regularly, I swear!

    There is nothing wrong with being frugal and conscious of one’s wasteing of resources. Every penny counts!

  8. Always its beneficial to use less something. And in travel as you told always try to travel with less belongings. Try to count every penny, don’t waste anything..

  9. Nice experiment. I need to try this out soon, as it seems I’m always overusing not only shampoo but also shower gel.

  10. In times like this being a little more aware of how much we use can’t hurt us, things are crazy expensive and if that means using less then so be it. toiletries have to be the worst at being expensive I have done this with my shampoo buying the big one and then pouring it into a smaller bottle and its working.

  11. Interesting story. I learn new things from your experience and i will care about this matter. Thanks.

  12. Great idea, using a less resources can save money also i have this problem with cash in my pocket this often complain from people all money spent out which in pocket sure try out idea!!!

  13. Metal Cases says:

    Great post! I definitely agree that you can trick your mind this way. I often put things in a smaller bag to make myself think that I am running low. That way it ends up lasting much longer. I’m sure this strategy can be used for a lot of things.

  14. A little update, I filled an old medicine bottle with some shampoo and it took me several weeks to go through it. Now I’m not buying a whole new container of shampoo every month!

  15. oes tsetnoc says:

    it is true, you need to count also even a less penny in your hands, it will save a lot like money, time, etc.. when you use less of something

  16. Good idea of save money. It’s really effective tips for it. Thanks for information.

  17. Buy Generic says:

    always a great reportage and great intro Thanks.

  18. Briefcases says:

    It is very interesting how the brain can go into conservation mode when it seems there is less of something. It is just as interesting how we tend to use more of something when it seems to be in excess.

  19. Generic says:

    Very Nice experiment. I need to try this out soon, as it seems I’m always overusing not only shampoo but also shower gel.

  20. snipercup says:

    Do you know how much it costs to put (the same) products in small(er) containers? the packaging costs skyrockets. The idea of using less is great, but i dont like the method.

    - snipercup

  21. That’s really interesting but I believe it works! I also try to use a smaller amount of something that is in a smaller bottle. Funny how our brain works.